The Vikings

The Vikings liked clothes and jewelry. The Vikings were proud of
their appearance and liked to dress well. Most of their clothes were
made of wool or linen that they had spun and woven themselves. The
cloth was dyed with mineral or vegetable dyes of green, brown, red,
yellow or blue. The men wore sleeved jerkins or three-quarter length
coats over woolen shirts and long cloth trousers. On their feet they
wore tall leather boots or soft shoes with short socks. The women
wore long woolen dresses and linen petticoats which reached to their
ankles. Their legs and feet were covered with thick woolly socks and
soft leather shoes. Both men and women wore fur or woolen hats and
cloaks when they went out in cold weather. Cloaks were fastened at
the shoulder with brooches. Children probably wore the same kind of
clothes as their parents. Everyone liked to wear gold and silver
brooches, bracelets, necklaces, armbands and rings. Some of their
jewelry was part of the loot from raids on foreign churches and
The Vikings and there war gear. The Viking was not a soldier in
the modern sense. He spent as much time being a farmer, sailor,
trader and explorer as he did fighting; and he had to provide his own
equipment. Armor to protect the body took many hours of skilled work
to make. It was certainly expensive, and was probably worn only by
Viking leases and their picked household warriors. The other fighting
men would have worn their everyday clothes, relying on an iron helmet
and a sturdy wooden shield for protection. The sword was the most
admired and honored weapon, and many Vikings would have carried one.
The other weapon which became almost the trademark of the Norseman,
was the heavy, two-handed battle-axe. This fearsome weapon, swung by
a big, muscular man, could shear through any armor. Some warriors are
said to have been able to behead a horse at a blow. Men who could
afford neither sword nor axe used a thrusting spear.
The northern people of Europe, the Barbarians, wore warm tunics
and cloaks. They lived in colder, wetter conditions than did the
people of the Mediterranean world. They needed to wear layers of warm
and relatively close-fitted clothes. Celtic, Teutonic, Anglo-Saxon,
and Viking men wore woolen trousers of various styles. Sometimes
these were long and loose, or they were strapped onto the lower leg by
bandages of linen or by leather thongs. A typical Barbarian wardrobe
consisted of undertunic , shirts, trousers, overtunic, and cloak.
Cloaks, tunics, gowns, nightgowns, boots, and mittens were often fur
lined or edged with fur. The women did not wear trousers, but under
their long tunics they sometimes wore leg coverings that were made of
wool or linen. When it came to decorative details, individual
cultures had distinctive styles. The Celts liked abstract patterns,
while the Anglo-Saxons were especially fond of animal designs.
In conclusion, the Vikings were very proud of their appearance.
They wore beautiful clothes and jewelry and took great care in making
their clothes and war gear. The Barbarians, on the other hand, were
not as interested in beauty, they were interested in keeping warm
because of the cold weather.